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    Legalisation after 18 years without status is UK


    Despite not satisfying a 20-year-long residence requirement and having no family members or official employment status in the UK, our client was granted permission to stay in the United Kingdom for 2,5 years under private and family life route and is now on route to settlement.

    Our Client’s Background 

    The client is a national of Ukraine and arrived in the United Kingdom in June 2004 without a visa. While he has never left the country for 18 years, he has not established any family in the UK, did not try to regularise his stay and was not officially employed anywhere.

    The Issue 

    Usually, there must be a reason for a person to stay lawfully in the United Kingdom. This can be the case if, for example, an individual has a partner, child, fear of persecution in his home country or has resided continuously here for 20 years. In our client’s case, none of the above was applicable. As mentioned above, he does not have a partner or child and has resided in the county for less than 20 years but more than ten years, making most conventional immigration routes closed for our client.

    General advice for our client would be to claim asylum in the United Kingdom due to the war in Ukraine and go through an 18–24-month long process, two day-long interviews and regular reporting to an immigration officer. Furthermore, in light of the recently introduced Immigration Bill, some asylum seekers are not at risk of being removed to Rwanda or a safe third country they have ties with.

    However, in our client’s circumstances, an asylum claim was not an option as he wished to regularise his stay as soon as possible without intimidating interviews and delays.

    Our Solution: 

    Acting in the best interest of our client, after throughout internal discussion, our team decided to make an application under family and private route under Paragraph PL 5.1 of the Immigration Rules, which states:

    “PL 5.1. Where the applicant is aged 18 or over on the date of application:
    (a) the applicant must have been continuously resident in the UK for more than 20 years; or
    (b) where the applicant has not been continuously resident in the UK for more than 20 years, the decision maker must be satisfied there would be very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country where they would have to live if required to leave the UK. … 

    While we knew that the Home Office would not be satisfied that our client has been a resident for 20 years, we strongly argued that our client left Ukraine more than 18 years ago and has never left the UK during this period. Therefore, our client has no or few ties left with Ukraine and would find it impossible to integrate should he be required to return.

    We further argued that our client’s removal to Ukraine would breach his rights to family and private life, and right to life and pose a substantial risk of inhuman or degrading treatment. We additionally provided the Home Office with evidence that the armed attack initiated by the Russian Federation and associated hostilities have led to a grave deterioration in the human rights situation across the country.

    After organising our client’s documents and finalising our representations, we applied, using a priority service, which is available for an additional fee paid to the Home Office. With priority service, the decision is made within one working day after an applicant attends a biometric appointment.


    On 16th July, our client was granted permission to stay in the United Kingdom for 2,5 years under private and family life route and is now on route to settlement. Our client can now be officially employed, open a bank account, and apply for National Insurance and UTR. He can also buy property in the UK and establish a whole and free life in the United Kingdom.

    We recognise that many undocumented residents in the UK may be hesitant to seek legal help and do not want their presence to be discovered. But this case may give them hope.


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